Wednesday, January 20, 2010

GULP Alert: Liturgical abuse or plain liturgically dumb?

Every Sunday, I work at our parish as a marshall during Mass.  As a Knight of Columbus, we are tasked with collection and guarding against those who might not receive Communion properly (i.e.:  not dressed properly, those who might go away with the Host without consuming It.)

Last Sunday, I was assigned to be the Communion Marshall near the celebrating priest (not out parish priest).  He used a huge host for consecration, one that is as huge as a serving plate.

During the Agnus Dei, the priest broke the Host.  I noticed that he consumed only a portion of the Host.

When he went down for Holy Communion, I noticed that he gave the parts of the Host to the communicants.  Most of those who communicated did so by hand.  As a marshall, I watched closely if the communicant, especially those who receive by hand, consumed It.

Here's where the sad part begins.

AS one of the communicants places the Host in his mouth, a small Piece broke off from the Host.  Remember, this came from the big Host.  The Piece fell to the floor and the altar server, who was holding a communion paten, failed to catch the Fragment and even notice It fall to the marble floor of the church.

I immediately picked up the Piece and placed it on the communion paten.  The priest continued with the communion as if nothing had happened!

After I communicated, since I am the marshall, the priest did not even bother to take the communion paten from the altar server, even though he saw me put the Fragment onto the communion paten.  I pulled the altar server aside and told him to remind the priest to consume the Fragment.

The priest does not purify the vessels himself.  He lets the EMHC do it.  I did not see what he did to the communion paten nor to the Piece.

I could not talk to the priest.  We know each other too personally.  A fraternal correction would not be welcome with him.  He thinks of me as too liturgically conservative.  And the guy does not take corrections lightly, be it good intentioned or otherwise.

Two things...

1.  The risk of profanity because of Communion in the Hand -  How many fragments fall off?  How many get trampled on the ground?  How many times is He stepped on?

2.  Priests who couldn't care less....

Are we simply dumb, no matter how good intentioned we are, we are unaware that what we are doing is a grave abuse or even a sin?  Or are we just playing dumb?


  1. I'm not a big fan of receiving communion by the hand. In fact it is only Roman Catholics that do so. Anglicans receive the Eucharist under both kinds usually by intinction. They don't receive it by the hand.

    The Eucharist is God with us and given the state of my hand (I use it in our daily work), I don't wish to treat the Host with disrespect and profanity. I much as possible receive the Host the old way. Now if my mouth were unclean, then I would not receive the Host since I am not in a state of grace.

  2. Priests who couldn't care less and the people who have forgotten the sanctity of the celebration.

    It also saddened me to see that people do not regard the church as holy ground anymore.

  3. I agree with the other first two comments. Yes, sad, indeed. I too have witnessed situations both involving priest and communicant who are rather "clueless (???)" or just er, plain dumb (sorry) or like you say, playing dumb...hay, tayong mga Filipinong Catolico, sometimes, I begin to wonder if all we care about is the fiesta here and fanfare there....disregarding the more deeper aspects of what is truly essential to our identity...Catholic! the very root of our being Filipino,,,hindi ba tayo ang kilalang Catholic nation in seems that we are not aware of that great distinction judging from how we conduct ourselves in the Holy House of God.

  4. I guess blackshama, rosalie and buenasmarias can share some of the liturgical abuses they have witnessed and enlist in GULP (God's Undercover Liturgical Police).